New tar­get for tourist growth

Re­port sets out strat­egy for county

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Staff re­porter

Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang could play their part in help­ing tourism boost the La­nark­shire econ­omy by £9mil­lion per year.

The group be­hind VisitLa­nark­shire. com, VenuesLa­nark­ and BeLa­nark­ are tar­get­ing 2.5 per cent an­nual growth in the re­gion’s tourism sec­tor by 2020.

Their am­bi­tious tar­get, which aims to in­crease both vis­i­tor num­bers and jobs, has been re­vealed in the La­nark­shire Area Tourism Part­ner­ship’s re­cently pub­lished Tourism La­nark­shire 2020 re­port.

The VisitLa­nark­shire web­site lists Kirkhill, Cam­bus­lang and Cathkin golf clubs as po­ten­tial sport­ing at­trac­tions, along with Scotkart. Lo­cal busi­nesses and Cam­bus­lang Park are also held up as at­trac­tions.

Ruther­glen Town Hall is in­cluded in the list of po­ten­tial venues.

La­nark­shire Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion chair Mark Calpin said: “Our 2.5 per cent year-on-year growth tar­get is am­bi­tious but achiev­able.

“By 2020 we want to ce­ment La­nark­shire’s rep­u­ta­tion as a des­ti­na­tion that of­fers ex­cel­lent qual­ity, value for money and ac­ces­si­bil­ity for all.

“The tourism sec­tor in La­nark­shire is al­ready thriv­ing, with every £ 1 in­vested re­turn­ing around £ 56 to the lo­cal econ­omy. We an­tic­i­pate see­ing this rate grow over the com­ing four years.

“The area en­joys some of the best food and drink, trans­port links, ac­com­mo­da­tion, her­itage and busi­nesses in the coun­try.

“We can only achieve these tar­gets with the on­go­ing sup­port of the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, busi­nesses and tourism groups in the re­gion.

“By pulling to­gether in the same di­rec­tion we be­lieve we can ex­ceed our tar­gets and help La­nark­shire’s tourism econ­omy thrive.”

The re­port was de­vel­oped fol­low­ing re­search in part­ner­ship with pri­vate, public and third sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The three main ar­eas iden­ti­fied for growth are leisure tourism, busi­ness tourism and cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing to en­cour­age re­peat busi­ness.

The strat­egy is based on turn­ing as­sets into qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ences, im­prov­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney, in­creas­ing dig­i­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and lead­er­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion

As well as the part­ner­ship’s tourism as­pi­ra­tions, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses are in­vest­ing to at­tract leisure and busi­ness vis­i­tors.

The trend of in­creas­ing vis­i­tor num­bers is ex­pected to con­tinue, with ma­jor im­prove­ments be­ing made to the area’s trans­port links.

La­nark­shire is within an hour of many ma­jor towns and cities in Scot­land. The £ 500mil­lion road im­prove­ments to the M8, M73 and M74, in­clud­ing the Raith in­ter­change, which are due to be com­pleted dur­ing 2017 will im­prove ac­cess from Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh as well as jour­neys around La­nark­shire.

La­nark­shire Area Tourism Part­ner­ship’s ap­proach to at­tract­ing tourism has helped lead to a 12 per cent growth in tourism-re­lated jobs since 2012. An­nual vis­i­tor num­bers are up by more than 100,000 in the same pe­riod and the ac­com­mo­da­tion pro­vi­sion has in­creased by 12 per cent since 1999 to al­most 8,000 beds.

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